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Electronic billboards: Coming soon to a highway near you...

By Philip Anselmo

Commuters heading west from Batavia may soon have to contend with yet another highway distraction. An article in the Buffalo News from last week informs us that electronic, television-style billboards will soon be gracing roadsides in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Hamburg and Tonawanda. They will replace the antiquated poster-style billboards in those areas with electronic ones that "beam a new picture every eight seconds." But there's more to these flashy billboards than just invasive marketing opportunities.

The new technology has drawn concern in some communities, while winning applause in others for beaming emergency information to drivers.

Digital signs can quickly replace ads with messages about traffic problems ahead. They can also relay AMBER Alerts about missing children, (Lamar general manager Rich) Dvorak said.

In Minneapolis, a digital billboard alerted drivers about a bridge collapse in 2007 and helped reroute traffic.

“We can react within minutes to get that [emergency] message up,” Dvorak said.

But concerns about distracted driving and neighborhood livability have also surfaced as the electronic signs proliferate, with 1,100 now in use nationwide.

What do you think? Will electronic billboards be worth the distraction?

Gabor Deutsch

Thruway and major routes would benefit, but in rural areas it would have to be heavily regulated and what about going green ?
Amber alert sure, but "commercial ads" are not needed or wanted. We get enuff of that using technology right now. I dont want to install a pop up blocker when I take a ride that's for sure.

Nov 17, 2008, 4:05pm Permalink

BTW-We heard about the bridge collaspe last year in MINN.and that lasted about a week and then the coverage ended.I was just wondering what the final analysis was
how about a 700 billion bridge repair buyout for these united states.
I like the ideas of technology spreading.seems to me this will create jobs,

Nov 18, 2008, 6:25am Permalink
Daniel Jones

Douglas-You got it, we need to take some of that money and invest it in infrastructure and public works, we might as well use some of that allocated funding for something other than paying for CEO's vacations.

Nov 18, 2008, 12:49pm Permalink

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